Minnesota Advances Bill to Criminalize Sharing Political and Sexual Deepfakes

AI Face

Minnesota has advanced a bill to criminalize the sharing of sexual and political deepfakes — as lawmakers across the U.S. rush to combat the rise of artificial intelligence (AI).

In a nearly unanimous vote, Minnesota Senate lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday that would criminalize people who non-consensually share deepfake sexual images of others and people who share deepfakes to hurt a political candidate or influence an election.

The bill would allow prosecutors to charge people with up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines for disseminating deepfakes.

ABC News reports that only one Minnesota Senate lawmaker voted against the bill on Wednesday.

“The concern I have is just the civil penalty. I want to see it higher,” Republican Sen. Nathan Wesenberg, of Little Falls explains on the Senate floor before voting against the bill.

The bill will still go through a conference committee and get signed by Democratic Governor of Minnesota Tim Walz to become law.

Non-Consensual Deepfakes Could Soon Be Illegal in America

Only a small handful of states — which include Texas, California, and Virginia — have passed legislation to combat deepfakes.

But in the U.S., there is currently no federal legislation to protect against people’s images being used without their consent in deepfake porn or with any associated technology.

However, a new piece of legislation called “Preventing Deepfakes of Intimate Images Act” was introduced last week which would make sharing non-consensual AI-generated deepfake pornography illegal in the U.S.

“The Preventing Deepfakes of Imitate Images Act would make illegal the non-consensual sharing of altered or ‘deepfake’ intimate images online and create additional legal courses of action for those impacted,” Morelle says in a statement on Friday.

“The spread of AI-generated and altered images can cause irrevocable emotional, financial, and reputational harm — and unfortunately, women are disproportionally impacted.”

The proposed bill would include provisions to ensure giving consent to create an AI image does not equate to consent to share the image. The bill also would seek to protect the anonymity of plaintiffs.

AI-generated pornography which features the faces of non-consenting individuals is becoming increasingly common online. In March, hundreds of sexually suggestive deepfake video ads of Emma Watson and Scarlett Johansson ran on Facebook and Instagram.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.